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Updated: Sally Jewell, CEO Of Outdoor Gear Retailer REI, To Be Nominated As Interior Secretary


Editor's note: This updates with President Obama officially nominating Sally Jewell for Interior secretary, and adds reaction.

Sally Jewell, who runs the outdoor gear retailer REI, was formally nominated by President Obama on Wednesday to replace retiring Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

In making the nomination announcement from the White House state dining room, the president cited Ms. Jewell's background as both a petroleum engineer and businesswoman, saying she is "an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future."


Ms. Jewell would seem to be a strong pick for the position, although some multiple-use groups might voice concern as she sits on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association.

At the NPCA, President Tom Kiernan praised the selection, saying Ms. Jewell "is an outstanding business leader, advocate for outdoor recreation, and national parks supporter..."

"Sally Jewell’s business expertise and passion for the outdoors, recreation and conservation foretells her success as Secretary of the Interior," he added in a prepared statement. "She is a collaborative leader who has worked tirelessly over the last decade to get kids and families outdoors and address the national parks’ chronic funding needs."

In her role as REI's CEO, Ms. Jewell was invited to the White House in 2011 when President Obama's "America's Great Outdoors" initiative was launched. She also was one of the speakers at America's Summit on National Parks held in Washington in January 2012.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, Udall, who serves on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and chairs the National Parks Subcommittee, also applauded the nomination.

"As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I will have a hand in ensuring that Sally Jewell has the skills and policy acumen to carry out the important work of the Interior Department and uphold the legacy left by Ken Salazar and many others there," Sen. Udall said in a prepared statement. "I appreciate her private-sector experience as head of one of the foremost outdoor equipment retailers, and I look forward to speaking with her about her vision for managing our public lands and how she would attack the challenges we face in Colorado and the West."


Why else would a Republican (a very poor one at that) now be our Defense Secretary?

It's a long-standing tradition for an administration to appoint members of the opposing party to cabinet positions. From FDR forward, just about every President has followed this tradition of bipartisanship. Obama just happens to have appointed more members of the opposing party than any other President.

Good credentials, I agree. Am leary of credentials being used as cover for central planning at the WH. Example: Why else would a Republican (a very poor one at that) now be our Defense Secretary? Hope my concerns aren't warranted but.... Wouldn't be surprised if John McCain's the next Secretary or Under Secretary of something such is the degree of his decline but does have Backcountry National Park experience. Things are getting so far out.

Rick, good find. Clearly, she's a rare bird. She worked in the oil industry, investment banking and REI, and is a board member of the NPCA.

Ms. Jewell,

You have a golden moment here to right a wrong in the smokies. Rescind the park superintendents authorization for the backcountry fee and let locals handle it like we always have. The Smokies has the largest volunteer force in the system I am told. Ditmanson is alienating us and making enemies daily here. You would be the most popular person in the most popular park if you reign this cash drunk cowboy in. It would also save you guys the implications of the lawsuit if there were no fee to defend. Just sayin....don't listen to the moustache club, talk to locals. We give it to you straight.

It appears from this report that she is looking to be all things to all people, and realistically speaking, that is probably the most effective way to get through the confirmation process.

Sally Jewell seems to be a person who has actually has experienced the outdoors. More important, she's still out there, hiking and climbing. Good for her! She's actually been in the interior.


Don't think her selection is any more than window dressing as this bunch demands central planning. I have a very low REI membership number and still can remember my father buying a pair of boots for himself and a Trapper Nelson Pack for me at the upstairs loft store in Seattle from Lou Whitaker himself. Great company and from appearances she's a better selection than any of the other Cabinet appointees but central planning is the theme and Axelrod, Jarrett and Obama are the planners.

For whatever it may -- or may not -- be worth, here is a link to an editorial from the LA Times reprinted in Salt Lake City Tribune:

It seems like a reasonably well balanced opinion piece.

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